This story is by Katherine Krauser and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
That’s when Robson met Marieta. It was hot, an eery and unbearable warmth that wrapped everyone in the midst of a blasted storm. Weird, don’t you think? Robson thought it was too. Just as he thought how weird was that whole day. He had never been late. Never. Exactly never. And, precisely on that day, his alarm clock didn’t ring. Neither the other alarm clock. Nor the other one. Or the other one. Robson was a bit neurotic. Or, as he used to think, maybe everybody else was paranoid, and he was just the “normal guy of the story”. After all, he just wanted to guarantee that he would wake up at the right time. There’s nothing weird about that, is it? Maybe the delay was a sign that he should have stayed home on that day. But Robson wasn’t the kind of person who deprives himself of going out because uncommon situations interfered in his routine. And, that time, he didn’t act differently.
He never understood how people didn’t comprehend him when he compared himself to a table. “Robson is crazy”, they said. But, see, it makes sense: tables are made of atoms, people as well. What other resemblance is missing? And people, of course, never understood. Neither when Robson tried to explain the origin of grass as the fruit of the bond between the sky and the sun. Again, “Robson is a nut”. But, just like the previous comparison, this affirmation also made sense. See, the sun is yellow, the sky is blue and the grass is green. It just takes an Art class to perceive what colors that mixed up with others specifically, gave birth to another one. And colors are life.
Robson always said that to his mom. A black and white world would be boring. And what other people thought when he said this? Well, this was part of the few things that some of Robson’s acquaintances agreed.
There was also that other time when Robson’s mom took him into a psychologist. She believed that the “poor needlewoman’s son” could be healed – this was how she referred to him to her friends. And she thought he wasn’t listening when she said it… Children hear and remember everything!
Some memories simply won’t fade way, mainly those ones which suited like a trauma. Ok, maybe “suit” isn’t the right verb to use in this case because traumas doesn’t suit, they disturb. The only things that suit are clothes. Or thimbles. Robson always remembered his mom and her thimbles and he never understood how those tiny buckets helped her sewing. Besides that, Robson felt pity for the mice, as he always thought that, in fact, the tiny buckets were stolen from them by the needlewomen. And those women still dared to put mousetraps in their houses. While Robson thought about that he was interrupted by a knock on his door.
Oh! He never forgot what he saw when opened it. It was terrifying! Must have traumatized him! At least, it never got off his mind. Traumas are stronger than other memories, traumas make you freak out and Robson freaked out when he saw that thing outside his door. And he felt perplexed every other time he saw it. It was so red! So gruesome! People needed to remove him from places that had that thing. He just couldn’t help remembering his classmates trying to suffocate him with that thing because they thought Robson was totally crazy. At least, this was their excuse for doing it. But maybe it was just a perverse act and his classmates were prototypes of psychopaths.
Maybe if he hadn’t closed the door on that instant, he wouldn’t be like this right now. But Robson doesn’t like doors. When he was a little boy, his father hit Robson’s face with the door saying that Robson’s madness was a shame to their family. But, again, Robson insisted that it wasn’t madness, it was just a less complicated way to face things. If people just believed that white is white and not the result of all the colors mixed together, life would be easier. And no, there was no use trying to prove it with that rotating disk experience that Robson did in his school’s Science Fair. That experience was an illusion, just as his uncle’s magic tricks.
Yes, his uncle was weird. He was, not Robson. He tried to make a living being a magician but soon his career was over. He sold his doves for the owner of a black magic place. But, when he approached the place, he felt pity for the unfair doves’ destiny and freed them.
Maybe this wasn’t the wisest decision, but he couldn’t have known. The only thing Robson knew was that, after that day, his uncle went nuts. The psychologist said that everybody could have traumas healed, at least it’s worth trying. Besides that, for Robson, everything is worth trying. Since he read that poem from… who was the author? Oh, forget it, what matter is that the poem said “everything is worth it when the soul is not small”. So, for Robson, everything must be worth it because his soul just couldn’t be small, it was so logical. He was tall, so tall that he had to dock down to pass through the doors, what meant that his soul could only be big.
Being tall made his classmates gave him the nickname of “Frankenstein’s Monster”. It wasn’t very nice from the point of view of the other students, but for Robson that nickname was awesome. He read Frankenstein and thought it was incredible to give life to a completely lifeless thing through a lightning.
Taught by the book, Robson tried, for many years, to give life to rocks. He wanted a rock to talk with because maybe it would understand him. So every time a thunderstorm began, Robson caught a rock from his special collection and put it on the beach’s sand. After that, he hid himself inside the car so he would be protected of the lightnings by the Faraday Cage.
Many times, he went to beach to bring the rock back with a huge hope to hear “Hello, my name is Rock!”, but it never happened. Normally, he just recovered his rock and went home. But, a few times, he found some of that sculptures that lightnings do in the sand, a fulgurite or, as Robson believed, a captive soul of the lifeless things. For Robson, the lightnings were responsible for transporting some souls and, when they didn’t find a proper destination, they deposit the souls in the sand making a fulgurite. That was why Frankenstein’s Monster gained life! The lightning found him and deposited inside him the soul that it was carrying instead of wasting it somewhere else. It was so obvious.
One day his mom found out about his rocks’ and captive souls’ collection and, of course, interned him in a madhouse. But the place wasn’t that bad. At least, it was peaceful. Besides that, there were a lot of people who finally understood Robson and even nominated him as the Madhouse’s Einstein. Obviously some months later he left that place, as he wasn’t considered a threat to the society. He just had unique thoughts.
The first thing he did after leaving was eating an ice cream. He loved ice cream! It was so magical that it could be solid in a moment and, seconds later, quickly disappear, just like the ice does. Except the glaciers which have the concession to be eternal.
Robson wanted to be eternal someday, he just didn’t know how. Or maybe he could, just like the ice, disappear one day. But he just wanted to PUF! Because melting wouldn’t be fun. Robson didn’t like heat so much. He was barely enduring the hot wind blowing and wrapping the entire city on that day and melting would require a lot of heat.
So the rain came down and then the thunderstorm. Suddenly, Robson saw a lightning. Taken by an instinctive impulse, Robson caught up the first rock he saw on the ground and ran towards the beach. He could make it! But, this time, he wanted to be close enough of the rock, so he could see if it would finally say hello to him. If this happened, he would prove to everybody that he wasn’t crazy, that he was right all the time and if Frankenstein’s Monster was able to walk and talk, maybe he could give life to an inanimate object either.
Something made him shiver and he felt that the right lightning was approaching. Robson loved that feeling and ran towards the phenomenon. Everything he remembers is that there was a flash and, suddenly, he woke up lying on the ground, still in the middle of the thunderstorm. When he opened his eyes, Robson looked to his side and, as he hadn’t done for years, smiled.
Why is it called “Cherries?” Does anyone have a guess besides the author?
The language is very poor in places. Kind of neat in others. Take this example:
“Everything he remembers is that there was a flash and, suddenly, he woke up lying on the ground,” or
“Some memories simply won’t fade way, mainly those ones which suited like a trauma. Ok, maybe “suit” isn’t the right verb to use in this case because traumas doesn’t suit, they disturb. The only things that suit are clothes. Or thimbles.”
You’re right: suit isn’t the right word. But why include your own editorial work in the piece? How about just rewriting the line and moving on? There is a neat quality to what is happening in “Or thimbles.” and what follows… but the first couple of sentences are simply poorly written. So the next lines, however cool, do not matter. The opening of the paragraph stops the reader in his tracks.
Nevermind there are plenty of other wording issues and points of craft that are just not coming together as a piece of craft. I’d encourage you to take courses in writing, study the craft, starting with basic grammar: “and if Frankenstein’s Monster was able to walk and talk, maybe he could give life to an inanimate object either.” …
Diane Krause says
I like this. I thought what CRS called poor grammar was part of the characters differentness. At points it was absorb yet it all came together in the end.
Diane Krause says
Opps, absorb was meant to be absurd. My auto correct got me.